GBBO’s Maggie shares her Easter Simnel cake recipe

Fruit cake topped with yellow marzipan and tied with a yellow ribbon and Easter decor

Simnel cake an traditional Easter cake featuring 11 marzipan balls representing the 11 apostles - but not including Judas - Credit:

Maggie Richardson, aka Maggie the Seaside Baker, The Great British Bake Off's first ever Dorset contestant, shares her favourite recipe for baking a Simnel cake. So let's join GBBO's Maggie in her Poole kitchen for her Great Easter Bake Off   

Maggie's Easter Simnel Cake 

Whilst this requires a long cooking time, the preparation and decoration take very little time. The cake can be made several days in advance and stored in a tin. Don’t use cling film to cover it as it makes the marzipan sweat. The completed cake, with marzipan topping, can be frozen for up to a month. Ensure it's thoroughly defrosted. 


225g unsalted butter softened 

225g caster sugar 

225g plain flour 

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4 medium eggs (about 225g) 

2 teaspoons of mixed spice 

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

225g sultanas 

100g currants 

100g glace cherries cut into quarters 

500g marzipan either bought or homemade to be used as filling and decoration.  

To decorate  

apricot jam (preferably without bits) and some of the marzipan. 

Round fruit cake topped with yellow marzipan, edible rose buds with a yellow ribbon

Simnel cake a classic Easter bake featuring a rich fruit cake and marzipan centre and topping - Credit:


1 Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/ 140°C fan/ gas mark 2. Line a 20cm round cake tin with parchment or a preformed liner 

2 Using the all-in-one method, put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and spices into a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer until well combined. Stir in the sultanas, currants and cherries. 

3 Roll out about a third of the marzipan to a depth of approximately 5mm. Using the base of the cake tin as a template, cut out a circle that will fit inside the cake tin. 

4 Put half the cake mixture in the tin, smooth it out and then put the circle of marzipan on top finishing off with the second half of the cake mix. 

5 Bake for about 2 ½ hours until it feels firm to touch in the middle. Leave in the tin to cool for about 15 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool completely. 

6 When the cake is cool, warm the apricot jam, brush it on top of the cake. Roll out half of the remaining marzipan and cover the top of the cake, crimping the edge. Divide the remaining marzipan into 11 equal-sized pieces and roll into balls. These look pretty if you caramelise the top of them before you place them on the cake, either brown under the grill or use a blowtorch. Be careful, marzipan burns really easily!  

7 I finished my cake with a bright yellow ribbon tied around it, and topped with some edible rose buds from Portland-based Polly’s Petals (

Maggie the Seaside Baker and Dorset GBBO contestant with Simnel cake

Maggie Richardson aka Maggie the Seaside Baker with her homemade Simnel cake - Credit:

Follow Maggie on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Read her monthly column Maggie The Seaside Baker in Dorset magazine 

Click here for Maggie's Dorset Apple Cake recipe